IDS working papers;225

Mapping trade policy : understanding the challenges of civil society participation

Published on 1 January 2004

This paper examines the way that a range of development actors view and engage with the arena of trade
policy, focusing in particular on the challenges encountered by civil society actors participating in that
arena. The dynamics of civil society participation in the trade arena – what might be achieved, and how –
are very different from those that shape civil society participation in processes labelled poverty reduction;
this paper explores the differences. To achieve this, we provide an overview of the international trade
policy landscape, and discuss factors that shape participation at the interfaces of trade and development
policy processes. We go on to present the views and perspectives of two sets of civil society actors – UKbased
international non-government organisations, and Ugandan and Kenyan civil society organisations –
about their experiences and strategies of engagement and participation. Finally we reflect on some of the
challenges of civil society participation in the trade arena: structural complexity and inequities, the
exclusion of alternatives to trade liberalisation narratives, and the dynamics of representation.

Publication details

published by


Related content